Carey Langlois becomes first Guernsey firm to open in City

Channel Islands firm Carey Langlois is opening an office in London to improve its service to English law firm clients.

The firm is the largest in Guernsey and the first from the island to open in the UK. The office will initially be run by former Linklaters & Alliance tax partner David Greenhalgh, who joined the firm last year as a consultant (The Lawyer, 31 January 2000).

Other partners from the 30-lawyer firm will make regular trips to the office to meet clients, after there was a demand for a presence on the ground.

The firm regularly works with all of the City’s magic circle firms and also claims to have been instructed by the bulk of the other London law firms.

Managing partner John Greenfield says it was demand from these clients that has driven the expansion.

He says: “Traditionally, we’ve been based in Guernsey, but what we’ve found is that much of our work – both in terms of pure commercial work, trust work and litigation – is originating from the UK and from London law firms in particular. It’s really a natural extension of what we started last year when we took on David, and a recognition of our London clients, which are principally London law firms and London accountants.”

The Channel Islands’ largest firm, Jersey-based Mourant du Feu & Jeune, opened a London office two years ago to improve its access to the City’s financial institutions and law firms (The Lawyer, 29 March 1999).

And just last month Cayman Islands firm Walkers decided to move into the capital for the same reason, showing that offshore practices are battling to raise their profiles here (The Lawyer, 12 March).

“We’re not competing with London law firms, they’re our clients, so we’re not trying to compete on English law legal services at all,” says Greenfield. “There are, though, many firms in London that are looking for our services. They want an offshore firm for a variety of reasons.”

Carey Langlois handles a raft of commercial work, employee benefits, trusts, insurance and commercial litigation work.